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The Turquoise Tree

The Cult of Vinga

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This write-up of the cult of Vinga is based on that provided in Storm Tribe. All players should read it in addition to the notes that follow. We have used elements from many other sources to compile our version of the cult and will attempt to credit each source where possible. Much of the material below has been taken from Jane Williams’ Vinga write-up.

 

 

Vinga is the main Orlanthi warrior goddess. She is the daughter of Orlanth and Ernalda, and is Protector of the Hearth and the Shield of Women. She defends the clan, guards against Valind and the Uz, and as the Pathfinder leads the way. Through her, women can join Orlanth subcults. As the DarkStorm she travels ancient and dangerous paths in defence of her clan.

Vinga is a bold, boisterous, full of life and laughter, cunning, and resourceful goddess. She had many adventures before she finally found her place in the Thunder Brothers, and repeatedly defended the clan from attack. Her cult provides a place in Orlanthi society for adventurous and independent women.

 

 

Cult Mythology

 

The cults mythology is well detailed in Storm Tribe; we generally follow it closely but have incorporated other elements from various sources. Vingan myths found on the net and in various publications are used widely, but only where they can be seen to fit it with the mythos presented in Storm Tribe and Thunder Rebels.

 

 

Cult History

 

The cult of Vinga has never been large, but becomes popular whenever Orlanthi women have to fight to defend themselves or their homes and families. Perhaps because this only happens in times of deep trouble, the cult is associated with last-ditch battles and pulling victory from the jaws of defeat. It has a stronger following in Sartar, Esrolia, and Heortland than in more scattered areas of the Barbarian Belt, and is particularly popular in Pavis. Her cult has many local variations of focus and custom.

The cult has been growing again, as many women have been joining the cult seeking to avenge their clan honour, and their dead. The cult is larger now than at any time since the Dawn, and is likely to grow larger still at the onset of the Hero Wars (from Jane Williams’ cult write-up).

 

 

The Cult in Society

 

 

 

We women can protect ourselves.

 

There is always another way.

 

 

Much of the material that follows has been culled from Jane Williams’ Vinga write-up. Storm Tribe provides an excellent explanation of the cult, of Vinga’s role in society, and its funerary and ritual practices, which we use as the basis of our cult write-up. The following notes should be regarded as supplementary to the details in Storm Tribe, except where they contradict the original, in which case they replace the description given in Storm Tribe.

Vinga provides guidelines for marginal, adventurous Orlanthi women to fit into society. Vinga remains subservient to Orlanth, though, and she must accept his law. She provides strength to women who seek vengeance, and is the protector of the helpless, inspiring them to extraordinary acts. She defends the clan against all threats, holds back winter with her Defender Storm, and “as Gateway she allows women access to the cultic powers of the StormFather” (from Questlines).

Vinga accepts members who have varying degrees of active involvement in the Orlanthi community. In a strong tribal society Vinga is very much an Orlanth subcult, accepting members only from the same tribe or nearby allied tribes. In more cosmopolitan environments the cult accepts females from any Orlanthi pantheon cult background.

Vingans are not some kind of anti-male society; they are a pro-female society. Whilst a proportion of Vingans are same sex orientated or 'equally amenable', unlike Yelornans, many are noted for their passionate love affairs with men. There is a saying in Pavis,  "You never know on any day which side of the bed a Vingan will get out of”.

Vingans are in the business of promoting themselves as equals, not lording over others. If this involves belittling, defeating and tricking males from time to time however, that just adds to the fun. Nevertheless Vingans are happy to ally themselves with traditional cults and other males who are progressive enough to accept them on their own terms.

 Among the Orlanthi, Vinga has a reputation as a lusty, strong-willed goddess, who knows what she wants and goes out to get it.  Many stories involving her revolve around the attempts of various gods to seduce, induce, or woo her to marriage, and her many ways of outwitting them. Despite this she is not seen as coy, and is linked in friendly association with several male Gods, including Eurmal, Elmal, Rigsdal, and Heler.

The reactions of others to Vingans varies from person to person (see Storm Tribe), even among fellow Orlanthi there is a variety of reactions to Vingans ranging from admiration to severe disapproval or hostility (quite common in ‘backwoods’ clan folk). This subject is discussed in more depth in Storm Tribe and the section on Cult Associations.

 

Each of the subcults of the Goddess has its own role in Orlanthi society. The name of each subcult is a link to an expanded description of that subcult.

 

        Vinga the Adventurer. This subcult provides an outlet for Orlanthi women of an adventurous disposition. (Based on Jane William’s Vinga cult write-up).

        Vinga the Avenger. As the blade strength of women. Vinga provides a way to seek revenge, succour in a time of desperate need, and the strength to defend the clan in hopeless situations.  (Taken from Storm Tribe).

        Vinga the DarkStorm. Secretive cult mainly found in Esrolia. They are spies and thieves, just as Vinga was when she found the DarkStorm and embarked on a series of adventures with Eurmal to recover the Rug Of Many Cows. Many are independent operators; others serve the Six EarthShadow Sisters as the eyes and ears of Ernalda. (Suggested in old write-ups of Vinga, this is otherwise largely our own creation).

        Vinga the Defender Storm. The Defender Storm holds back winter and protects the clan from the worst ravages of the cold. Cult members perform the rituals that help clans to survive the winter. (Taken from Storm Tribe).

        Vinga the Pathfinder. Followers of the way of Vinga when she was young; the Pathfinder subcult consists of hunters, scouts, guides, and explorers. They patrol the tula and beyond, guarding the clan and exploring new areas. (Taken from Questlines).

        Vinga the Spearwoman. The most common subcult, these Vingans are devoted to the defence of their clan, tribe, or community. (Taken from Storm Tribe).

        Vinga Uzfighter. These Vingans are devoted to the defence of their clan, tribe, or community, against the Uz, just as Vinga did repeatedly during The Long Night. (Taken from Questlines).

        Voudisea the Lance Goddess. Esrolian subcult that venerates Vinga’s shieldthane, Voudisea the Lancer. Small subcult who patrol the far reaches of the tula and defend the clan, just as Voudisea did when Vinga was away looking for Elmal in the Stone Forest.  (Voudisea is mentioned in the HeroQuest Voices Esrolia write-up, but not connected to Vinga).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

Vinga’s cult stresses the use of wit as well as weaponry and with Movement being Vinga’s main Rune, it is not surprising that the fighting style of her followers places an emphasis on technique over force of arms.

Her Six Virtues are also Courage, Wisdom, Generosity, Justice, Honour, and Piety, although again with a tendency to prove that women are the equals or possible superiors of men. Another virtue is Cunning, for Vingans always seek to gain tactical advantages against their opponents, and particularly men, with not so much regard to fair play (i.e. ‘honour’) as Orlanth cultists.

The cult of Vinga follows either Ernaldan or Orlanthi funerary rites, depending on the clan and/or region. Cultists go to the Red-Headed Lodge after death.

Vinga is most commonly depicted in art as a warrior goddess carrying either one or two weapons. The precise form of the depiction varies depending upon the cultural context in which it was created. Common iconographic representations of the Goddess include the following motifs: swords, a javelin, a spear, a shield and spear, and two javelins. She is often depicted as holding a hand open in a gesture of reassurance and with a smile on her lips. Many other motifs are used; for example, the DarkStorm subcult often depict the Goddess with a sword in one hand and a rune-covered flask in the other, and clans in the Kitori wilds depict her as a menhir decorated with mobility runes. As with others aspects of cult practice, there is a good deal of variation between different groups of worshippers.

Sacrifices to the Goddess take the forms described in Storm Tribe, but there is considerable variation in these practices, both on a regional and clan level.

Vingan temples and holy places are discussed in more detail under the Temples section.

 

 

 

Ritual Greetings

 

 

Vingans use the same ritual greetings as Orlanth cultists (see Thunder Rebels) with two exceptions.

In Esrolia, and Orlanthi clans with strong Babeester Gor connections, the following greeting is used whenever a Vingan priestess meets a Babeester Gor priestess.

 

Strong Axe Maiden, look at me!

I am come, the Storm of Night!

No Man can stand against the Sisters;

Speak me quick: whom shall I fight?

 

The second exception is a variation on the greeting used by Wind Lords whenever they meet an Ernaldan priestess for the first time (it should be noted that this practice is far from universal).

 

Sweet Mother Earth, Look at me!

I am come, the Hearth Defender!

None can stand before me.

I am your daughter, what Dark shall I fight.

Cult membership details are here.